The following information from a post in AIP by Mary Roush may help new arrivals through the process of obtaining a Panama Drivers license.
• -Resident Card
• -Driver’s License from Country of Origin
• -Blood Test (Your blood type is indicated on the license, which is pretty cool if you don’t know what it is! I’m O+!)
• -Glucose Test (To show that your blood sugar levels are not outside the standard range)
Procedure (I think it is virtually impossible to do this in one day, but if you start at 7 a.m., you may make it):
• 1. Consult with lawyer to obtain residency card…That’s a whole other article!
• 2. To obtain your blood and glucose test, go to a medical center while fasting (en ayunas) and mention that the tests are for your “licencia de conducir.” The results are ready in an hour or so and costs approximately $15.
• 3. You must notarize your foreign driver’s license at your embassy, which costs $30 and takes approximately 20 minutes, depending on how busy the embassy is.
• 4. After notarizing your driver’s license, you must go to the “Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores,” which is located on the bottom floor of Plaza Edison, on the corner of Via Brasil and Tumba Muerto.
• a.Get in line at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores and tell them you need your notarized copy of your driver’s license to be authenticated by them.
• b. They will give you a slip to deposit $2.00 at the Banco Nacional de Panama. In addition to those $2.00, you must purchase from Banco Nacional 2 one dollar stamps (“estampillas,” they are pinkish). The stamps can be purchased from the same bank teller with whom you deposit the $2.00. The Banco Nacional is also located on the ground floor of Plaza Edison (Insider Tip: In order to avoid standing in line twice, go first to the Banco Nacional de Panama and fill out a deposit slip yourself in the name of “Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores” and deposit the $2.00 and purchase the 2 one dollar stamps.)
• c. Bring the deposit slip and stamps back to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores and hand them in to the desk. I was told to return in 3 hours to pick up the authenticated document.
• 5. Now you are ready to go to the Sertracen office in Albrook. Remember to bring all your documents! To get to their office, turn right before El Rey (after the turn to the Albrook Airport), and make your first left, where Union Fenosa is located. Follow that road for a minute or two and you will see the office on your right. There is a little map on their website: http://www.sertracen.com.pa/
• 6. Go into the office and tell the individual that you are there to get your Panamanian license and that you have a foreign one. They will go over your documentation, conduct a hearing and vision test, and voila, you can drive legally in Panama after staying for 90 days! The cost is $20 for the license and $20 for the hearing and vision tests, totaling $40.
You must obtain basic liability coverage to register your vehicle. For more information call Carmen 322-1605 or Charlene 322-1008.